Monthly Archives: March 2010

Chocolate Festival? Oh, Go On Then!

It’s nearly Easter, which means one thing to most people: an abundance of chocolate.

Why not get ahead of the game down at the chocolate festival on Southbank?

It’s totally free, and you’ll get the chance to see chocolate sculptures, demonstrations and of course, buy lots of chocolate related products.

11am-8pm today, 11am-6pm tomorrow.

It takes place at Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Road, behind Royal Festival Hall.

Nearest Tube: Waterloo

Thanks to Hannah B for recommending this one to me.  Drop me a line at if you have any suggestions on things to do around the city!

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Filed under Festival, Food & Drink, SE London

2012. The Olympics, Not the Film

2012.  It seems a long way away.

But the Olympics chat is bound to get more and more prevalent in the next year and a half, and you wouldn’t want to miss out would you?

Register here to sign up for notification on when tickets for the mighty sporting events go on sale.  You can choose which events interest you, and when the time comes for ticket sales, you’ll get an email letting you know all the details.

Thanks to Chev and Michelle for letting me know about this one.  If you have any events/shops/must-see places to go or things to see, email me at  or post a comment below.

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Filed under E London, Local interest, Sports

Liz McClarnon: Liverpool and London Lovely

Liz McClarnon is a busy lady. Not only is she currently presenting BBC 3’s ‘Hotter Than My Daughter’, but she’s also in the studio recording new material, as well as rehearsing for her upcoming role in The  War of The Worlds Tour alongside X Factor’s Rhydian and Jason Donovan in November (check out her website for more details).

On top of all that, Liz regularly writes a blog, and stays in touch with fans on Twitter (find her @LizMcClarnon).  Somehow, she found time in her hectic schedule to do a quick Q&A with me:

Printed with permission from Belta CM

LondonLovelies: Congrats on Hotter Than My Daughter.  How did that project come about?

Liz McClarnon: Endemol just gave us a ring and said we need someone to come across quite friendly…and apparently that was me.  I met the executive producers and it we all just clicked.

LL: Do you have the same problem with your mum? I noticed a picture of the two of you on the wall in the studio!

LM: There are definitely no crossing of boundaries with me and my mum! She’s definitely the mum and I’m the daughter.  We DO go out together and she is VERY attractive but she would never let me see her chatting to a guy – she thinks we should keep those parts of our life separate…

LL: You’re doing quite a lot of things to do with body image at the moment, which has even extended to food now.  You’ve got your cookbook coming out shortly, what can we expect from that?

LM: You can expect to almost go through the journey that I went through on Master Chef. If you’ve never cooked before or you don’t know what to do or if you just need some ideas…just take a look at it.  I’ll have a TV show soon based on the same thing.

LL: Do you find it a conscious decision to eat healthily and cook ‘real’ food?

LM: Not really to eat healthily just to KNOW what’s in my food! (Ready-made food)

LL: What’s your favourite dish to cook?

Liz at this year's Universal Brits party (printed with permission from Belta CM)

LM: At the moment, anything fast and a bit fraught.  I don’t have much time to cook at home at the minute

LL: Do you feel under pressure to conform to the slim image that the media promotes?

LM: Yes and no…I want to be confident on stage or on TV, and if I feel big or constricted in clothes (when my normal size doesn’t fit me) I’m not that confident!  BUT, and that is a big “but” (excuse the pun) I could never end up with an eating disorder as it’s just not that important to me – I love food far too much!

LL: You’re in the studio at the moment recording new material, so how do you find time to look after yourself?

LM: I enjoy the little things that we sometimes don’t take as that important; sitting down with a hair treatment on and painting my nails or going out to get a manicure…I’ll go to the Virgin Active across the road and do a keep fit class.  I have such a laugh!

LL: What can we expect from the new album?

LM: Pop!!! I just love pop! And being heavily involved in writing for the Kitten’s albums and doing singles your fans expect that feel good vibe…I have a HUGE producer working on my stuff! I’m so bloody excited!

LL: You’ve got a really hectic schedule at the moment; what do you do to relax?

LM: I head straight for the Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden! That’s the only place in the centre of London you can chill for me.  They have a room where you just sit (like a Roman bath house) with a mini bridge over a pond with Koi carp in. It’s warm and there are NO MEN ALLOWED!

LL: Can you recommend anything to the LondonLovelies audience that we should go and check out?

LM: There’s a street in South Kensington called Bute Street and a lot of French go there…there’s a restaurant that is FULL of French peeps chatting away…it’s called Chais Nous and if you want “authentic” French food e.g. frogs legs cooked perfectly…go there! You feel like you could be in the middle of Paris.

LL: What would a perfect day off in the city involve?

LM: This is the city to shop in – so it’d be rude not to! Haha!

So there you have it – pop, pampering and Parisian chic, a perfect combination if you ask me.

You can watch Liz on ‘Hotter Than My Daughter’ on BBC iPlayer, or head to her website for more details on The War of The Worlds Tour – or even a recipe or two from Liz’s own collection.

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Filed under Arts, Interview, Music

Not So Silent Film Night

This week, Pure Groove are holding their monthly Not So Silent Film Night, an evening of – you guessed it – silent movies with a live DJ playing a ‘score’ over the film.

In conjunction with Last FM and The Four Oh Five, the event is on Wednesday, March 24 and kicks off at 7pm.  The film starts at 8.

Fancy dress is encouraged (prizes involved), and it’s a pretty relaxed affair; you can sing, dance and shout out at the screen if you so wish.

The event is FREE, and this month’s film is The Mask of Zorro (the original, not the Catherine ZJ one)

Pure Groove can be found at 6-7 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9JX

Nearest Tube: Farringdon/Barbican

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Filed under Arts, Central London, Music

Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

As mentioned a few weeks ago on the radio show, London’s Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is now running at the British Film Institute.

The event opened on Wednesday, March 17 and is running until March 31.

There are a whole range of events, as well as films, on offer – including a Dusty Disco in honour of Ms. Springfield herself, talks and club nights.

Tickets are still available for some of the films – check the website for availability.

The British Film Institute is situated on London’s South Bank.

Nearest Tube: Waterloo/Embankment/Charing Cross

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Filed under Arts, Central London, Festival, LGBT

Escape To….Lincoln

Abraham, Nebraska, the dude from Prison Break.  All fine Lincolns.

But none as fine as our very own one. Behold Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.

The cathedral towers above Castle Square

A city bursting with history, Lincoln can be traced back to the 1st century BC – the name Lincoln is thought to be taken from Iron Age Celtic ‘Lindon’, meaning pool.  It’s centered around Brayford Pool (probably where the name came from), where the University now lives, and the River Witham runs through the centre.

Through the ages many people have come and gone, including the Romans (some Roman arches still stand in the Bailgate area) and Normans – William the Conqueror built Lincoln Castle, which houses one of the only four remaining copies of the Magna Carta in the country.

One thing you’ll never miss on a trip to the city though, is Lincoln Cathedral.  Perched at the top of the Steep Hill (more on that later), it can be seen for miles around and has even doubled up as Westminster Abbey in the film The Da Vinci Code.

Entry to the Cathedral is £5 adults/£3.75 concession, and once you’re inside you must go and hunt for the Lincoln Imp (not to be confused with the Lincoln Imp pub on one of Lincoln’s council estates).

The top half of the Steep Hill

Both the castle and cathedral are at the bottom end of an uphill area of the city called the Bailgate.  An historic area of the city, it’s full of small independent shops and boutiques, as well as some lovely pubs and restaurants.  Gino’s, an Italian, is one of Lincoln’s most well thought of places to eat; there’s also the Ice Cream Parlour just off Castle Square, which sells homemade Lincolnshire ice cream – and needless to say, is very popular in the summer.


Move away from the Bailgate, and you hit The Steep Hill on your way down into the city.  It’s not called Steep for nothing – going down is almost as difficult as going up because of the incline – but there’s a handrail to aid you, should you need it.

The Steep Hill is also home to more boutiques and historic restaurants.  The Wig & Mitre pub and Brown’s Pie Shop, are two of Lincoln’s long-standing favourites, and definitely worth a visit.  Further down is Reader’s Rest, a second hand book shop conveniently situated midway on the hill.

The Wig & Mitre and Brown's Pie Shop

LondonLovelies is a fan of vintage shops, and there’s no better place to go in Lincoln than Tasty Vintage, situated at the bottom of the hill.  But you don’t have to be in Lincoln to see it’s wares; you can check out their website for vintage clothing and accessories.

Just past the vintage shop is the Jews House restaurant and Jews Court, built on the site of a medieval synagogue.

A Night on the Town

The town centre has become a much more vibrant place to go out since the arrival of Lincoln University just over ten years ago.  Although much has changed over the years, currently there’s Ritzy/Pulse/Jumpin Jaks on Silver Street, and Sakura and Walkabout on the High Street.  Along the Brayford Waterfront, there are tons of restaurants and bars including a Scream bar which has a club upstairs.

Other places of interest

The Usher Gallery is located on Lindum Hill (with free entry), and if museums are your thing, the Lincolnshire Life Museum on Burton Road might be of interest.

The Cathedral by Night

Further afield, Market Rasen – the town that was the epicentre of an earthquake a few years ago – has a racecourse which is worth a visit for a fun day out.

In the summer, the Castle hosts concerts in the grounds.  Previous shows have included Jools Holland and Liberty X.

December sees the internationally famous Lincoln Christmas Market, which snakes through Castle Square, the Castle grounds and the Cathedral.

Getting There

Lincoln is about 2.5 hours on the train, and is served by East Coast trains, changing at Newark for the East Midlands service.

In the car, it’s about 3 hours from London, depending on traffic!

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Filed under Food & Drink, Markets, Travel

All Things Irish

There’s plenty on in the city to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. Here’s a list of the best:

Brent Parade

From Willesden Green tube to Willesden Green Library

Time: 4-7:30pm


Nearest Tube: Willesden Green

The Big Shindig

At the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.  Join the BibleCodeSundays, Honey Ryder, and Folk In Hell featuring All-Ireland flute champion Joe Moran (previously of Slainte). Also Galway man Tony Lundon of Liberty X fame will perform a DJ set.

Time: 8pm-1am

Tickets: £12 advance, £15 on the door

Nearest Tube: Shepherd’s Bush

Irish Cultural Centre Celebrations

St Patrick’s Day with Gino Lupari, Donal Murphy & Steve Cooney Plus Support – Freddie O Farrell & Phil Smith at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.

Time: 7:30pm

Cost: £15/£12 concessions

Nearest Tube: Hammersmith

Traditional Irish Music Session

At the London Irish Centre, NW1 9XB.

Time: 3pm


Nearest Tube: Camden Town

Up and Coming Irish Bands

Irish band The Jude will be hosting The Irish Have Landed, a fundraiser at the Dublin Castle, Camden.

Time: 7:45pm

Cost: £6

Nearest Tube: Camden Town

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Filed under Central London, Festival, Local interest, Music